Thursday, May 31, 2007
1,000 and Out
As we all know, he finally notched his 1,000th goal last week, after banging in a few in the comparatively weak Rio state championship. He can thank Jason Spagnuolo, incidentally, for the one he scored in Australia.
But he's not finished yet. His plan to join up with the Brazil Under 17 side, no doubt so as to wear the cherished yellow shirt again, is beyond sentimental. It borders on pathetic.
One can hardly think of anything worse, in a developmental sense, than to have a team full of youngsters, who should be confidently going for goal themselves, deferentially laying off the ball to a virtually immobile elder statesman in the centre circle. We saw plenty of scenes like that at Hindmarsh earlier this season.
Tim Vickery, always on the ball, penned two insightful columns on the World Game site on Romario and his quest for the thousandth goal. The doubts that were widely expressed about the legitimacy of some of his strikes robbed his mission of its lustre, to a large extent. Not to mention the fact that it was so easy to paint it as a desperate attempt by a fading star to write himself into history somehow, after a premature departure from Europe in 1995.
However, all of us who saw Romario at his peak - I remember his performances at the 1994 World Cup all too well, not to mention a few stunning goals for Barcelona - know just how good he was. But we also, sadly, remember his crass attempts to get himself included in Brazil's 2002 World Cup squad, and a number of unseemly clashes with authority during the latter half of his career, when he clearly considered himself untouchable in Brazil.
If he retires gracefully now, he stands a good chance of being remembered as the magnificent striker he was.
If he continues to court opporunities for empty displays of vainglory, he may yet go down in football history as a petulant brat who took a wrong turn halfway through his career, and never knew when enough was enough.